January 20, 2006

Campaign’s success spurs nursing research

Featured Image

Research support from Johnson & Johnson is allowing VUSN’s Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., to continue studying the nation’s nursing shortage.
photo by Dana Johnson

Campaign’s success spurs nursing research

Johnson & Johnson's Campaign for Nursing's Future, which provides suport for research at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, recently received the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership during a special ceremony conducted by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez at the White House.

Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Research at VUSN, participated in the ceremony, reflecting his heavy involvement in the successful campaign through ongoing research into the nation's nursing shortage.

“Johnson & Johnson read the early warning signals of the implications of the nurse shortage and are to be complimented for their aggressive actions in launching this campaign,” said VUSN Dean Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D. “Vanderbilt School of Nursing was pleased to play a significant role in the evaluation of the effectiveness of this campaign, led by Peter Buerhaus.”

“This is a great example of how the corporate and academic worlds can work together to gain awareness for — and start solving — complicated issues that are as important as the nursing shortage,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

In 2001, Johnson & Johnson launched its Campaign for Nursing's Future. The company committed $30 million to the national initiative aimed at increasing the number of nurses, retaining nurses in clinical practice and increasing the capacity of the nation's nursing education system. Within a year, the campaign helped reverse a five-year decline in nursing education enrollments.

“I would liken J&J's involvement to a football game where you look back and see that one key play changed the momentum and outcome of the game,” said Buerhaus. “Johnson & Johnson has helped get people interested in nursing again and continues to show its commitment by offering scholarships for nursing faculty and committing additional research dollars to the issue.”

Buerhaus announced this week that VUSN received a new grant worth $300,000 from Johnson & Johnson to research the campaign's effectiveness, develop several articles and create a chartbook.

“Dr. Buerhaus is an outstanding scientist whose research has led to a direct improvement in patient care in our country,” said Jeffrey Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research. “Thanks to his research on the nationwide nursing shortage, more R.N.s are now available to care for hospital patients, and our country finally is realizing their vital importance. This is a clear case of a research investment with a tangible benefit to our patients.”

Buerhaus has dedicated his research to focusing on the nursing shortage. He cautions that the shortage remains a major concern, especially with projections showing a widening gap as our current nurse population grows older.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but J&J's campaign has changed everything for the better,” said Buerhaus.